Immune polarizing effects of Mansonella perstans co-infections.


Mansonella perstans (M. perstans) is one of the most prevalent parasites in sub-Saharan Africa with estimated 100 million infected individuals in endemic regions. Children and adolescents are infected early by this nematode specie. Although Mansonellosis itself may be less relevant for public health issues because of its asymptomatic or mild clinical picture, M. perstans can modulate or impede immunity against concomitant infections (co-infections). Initial studies from Ghana indicate co-infections of M. perstans in children with Buruli ulcer disease (BUD). Since essential Wolbachia endosymbionts were detected in these M. perstans isolates, co-infected individuals are susceptible to antibiotic treatment. These observations form the basis for the proposed epidemiological, clinical, and immunological studies performed by five partner institutions from Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, and Germany (Düsseldorf and Bonn).


We address the questions whether immune polarization due to co-infection with M. perstans affects i) susceptibility to mycobacterial diseases (i.e. BUD, Tuberculosis (TB), ii) disease course and recovery of BUD/TB, and iii) BCG vaccination efficacy in children. Doxycycline-mediated deworming of M. perstans infected healthy adolescents will be applied to determine the influence co-infections on anti-mycobacterial immunity. Finally, we aim to improve diagnosis by establishing and implementing PCR-based and serological methods. In this regard a crucial factor will be establishment of an M. perstans animal model to identify specific antigens of adult worms. The expected results of this project may have crucial implications for public health policies in M. perstans endemic countries. Major efforts will be undertaken to catalyze interactions between African and German partners including technology transfer and capacity building. 


This project is supported by the DFG-funded German/African collaboration project: "The effects of Mansonella perstans infections on concomitant mycobacterial infections and BCG vaccination efficacy in Ghana, Cameroon, and Benin (MaP2Co)".


Pediatric Pneumology and Infectious Diseases Group, Dept. of General Pediatrics and Neonatology, University Childrens Hospital, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany (UKD)Principal Investigator
Prof. Dr. Marc Jacobsen,                         
Dr. Norman Nausch
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University Hospital Bonn, 53105 Bonn, Germany (IMMIP)Principal Investigator 
Prof. Dr. Achim Hoerauf Dr. Laura E. Layland, Dr. Kenneth Pfarr, Dr. Manuel Ritter
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dept of Medicine, Kumasi, GhanaPrincipal Investigator
Dr. Richard Phillips
Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research at the Kwame Nkrumah University (KCCR), Kumasi, GhanaDr. Ellis Owusu-Dabo
Dr. Alexander Yaw Debrah
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Buea (UB), Buea, CameroonPrincipal Investigator
Prof. Dr. Samuel Wanji
Lab. for Immunology of infectious and allergic diseases (IMMIA), Cotonou, BeninPrincipal Investigator
Dr. Judith Satoguina


Picture gallery of the workshop in Kumasi, Ghana

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